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Hamas, Fatah agree to end feud, form government

posted 27 Apr 2011, 10:51 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 27 Apr 2011, 10:53 ]

Gaza residents voice happiness over Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.

GAZA CITY, GAZA (APRIL 27, 2011) REUTERS - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement has hammered out an accord with bitter rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election, officials said on Wednesday (April 27).

The surprise deal was brokered by Egypt and followed secret talks between the two sides, who fought a brief

civil war in 2007 that left the Islamist group Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip and the Western-backed Abbas in charge of the West Bank.

Forging Palestinian unity is regarded as crucial to reviving any prospect for an independent Palestinian state.

Gaza residents voiced happiness over the reconciliation.

"It is very positive step for our national unity and for the Palestinian people. It is a step to reunite the two sides of the country. And it is a step in order to free the occupied lands according to the resistance logic: :the international legitimacy and the Palestinian rights," Resident of Gaza, Yousef Lafi told Reuters Television.

Alla Al-Jarab, resident of Gaza was cautious about the news and hopes the agreement provides results.

"It is not important to announce reconciliation but the most important thing is to implement this agreement in reality. Before they announced reconciliation between factions, but we did not see anything in reality. We want a real agreement not an agreement written on the newspapers headlines," he added.

Ordinary Palestinians have repeatedly urged their leaders to resolve their deep divisions, but analysts had long argued that the differences between the two sides on issues such as security and diplomacy were too large to bridge.

We will be so happy if this is real because we as residents are living in bad situation. Honestly, we needed this news and I hope it will be real," Resident of Gaza, Ibrahim Awadallah,said.

Details of the accord were not immediately available.

Tumult across the Arab world is likely to have revitalised the reconciliation talks, with a new leadership in Egypt eager to stamp its authority on the region.

Peace talks between Israel and Abbas broke down last year and the Palestinian president is pushing instead to get backing in the United Nations this September for an independent state on all the territory Israel occupied in a 1967 war.

While Fatah has supported the notion of a negotiated peace deal with Israel, Hamas has firmly reject it and regularly fires missiles and mortars into the Jewish state.